Intensity and generalization of treadmill slip training: High or low, progressive increase or decrease?
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The purpose of this study was to investigate the efficacy of different treadmill slip training protocols on the transfer of reactive and proactive control of center of mass stability to a novel, over-ground slip. Four training protocols were investigated: high-intensity (HI; acceleration of all treadmill slips=12m/s(2)), low-intensity (LO; acceleration of all treadmill slips=6m/s(2)), progressively increasing intensity (INCR; acceleration of treadmill slips increasing from 6m/s(2) to 12m/s(2) over the course of training), and progressively decreasing intensity (DECR; acceleration of treadmill slips decreasing from 12m/s(2) to 6m/s(2) over the course of training). From a pool of 36 young subjects, nine were randomly assigned to each training protocol (HI, LO, INCR, and DECR). In each protocol, subjects underwent a series of 24 treadmill slips before they experienced a novel slip during over-ground walking. Measures from these subjects were compared across groups and to data from control subjects (CTRL, n=9) who had experienced a novel over-ground slip without treadmill training as part of a previous experiment. The results showed that treadmill slip training improved balance control on over-ground slip and had a larger effect on subjects׳ reactive control of stability (44.3%) than on proactive control (27.1%) in comparison with the CTRL group. HI yielded stronger generalization than LO, while INCR was only marginally better than DECR. Finally, the group means of stability displayed a clear ascending order from CTRL, LO, DECR, INCR, to HI.